Foods for Long Life and Well-Being

Water for Energy and Your Skin

Most people don't drink enough water," says nutritionist Susan Ayersman. "We need water to flush out toxins, keep our tissues hydrated, keep our energy up."

Water is also essential if you're eating high-fiber foods, says Leslie Bonci at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Water helps fiber do its job.

Don't stint on water just because you don't want to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, says Bonci. "Just be strategic about when you drink it," she says. "Drinking throughout the day, and not just before you go to bed should keep you from having to get up during the night."

If plain water doesn't quite do it for you, add slices of lemon, lime, or orange for flavor without calories. Or try a sprig of mint for a refreshing change of pace.

The Bottom Line

Don't be overwhelmed with all these suggestions. You don't need to add everything in at once. "Make haste slowly," says Bonci. "Add a bowl of oatmeal in the morning, replace a glass of milk with soy milk...just take it one step at a time."

Agrees Hart: "It's simply a matter of deciding to get the foods into your diet."

Originally published January 2004.
Medically updated August 2007.

SOURCE: William Hart, PhD, MPH, St. Louis University Doisy School of Allied Health Professions. Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, director of sports nutrition, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Beverly Clevidence, PhD, research leader, Diet and Human Performance Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service. Susan Ayersman, CCN, Kronos, The Optimal Health Company. The American Dietetic Association website. The American Heart Association website.

©2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.

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